June was a month of much movement in the region, not only owing to gaming industry events but also by the soccer World Cup in Brazil, and we surely give some special attention to this tourney especially with the splendid presentation of the Latin American countries. And at the time of writing these lines, claiming a well-deserved place amongst the great, Costa Rica stand shoulder to shoulder with Brazil and Argentina, while the number 10 shirt has a new owner in Colombia’s James Rodríguez, who has already made his mark at the Maracaná stadium. Much luck to all over the next few days and just hope that Jogo Bonito wins the day!
We were in Lima, Bogota, Santo Domingo and Punta Cana to take part in gaming events and also for a much needed break and visited the Gran Casino Jaragua at the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel Resort, where we had the opportunity to see a rejuvenated Merengue Bar. It was there where the merengue beat delighted folk from all ages who travelled to the Dominican Republic in the ’50s, last century. And although time has passed, the beat keeps its sweet and joyful rhythm just so people of both young and old can dance in this legendary nightspot, where a 13-piece band plus four vocalists ease the night away.
Although there are no regional events this month or August, we have two invitations for private industry events in Cali and Bogotá, where Merkur Gaming and WMS International will don their best colours on 30-31 July and August 21, respectively, for the benefit of friends and guests. See you there!
PANAMA – Casinos Association seeks closure of two casinos
On 25 June 2014, the Gaming Regulatory body in Panama (JCJ) accepted a demand from Chiel’s Law Firm, representing the Association of Gaming Operators (ASAJA), for the closure of two casinos. In an 11-page document ASAJA presents evidence for the cancellation of the contract dated 31 March 2011, signed by the company ACN S.A., operator of the Golden Lion Casino, and by Frank de Lima, acting in his capacity as Minister of Economy and Finance and President of the JCJ.
In a similar document presented on the same day, ASAJA asks for the contract signed on 5 March 2013 by Frank de Lima and the company SITROS S.A. to be revoked also. Both contracts contravene the laws of the Republic of Panama.
ASAJA is now seeking an emergency Order for the immediate closure of the two casinos for having been operating illegally. The contracts licensing the two casinos were issued for operations within a hotel, as required by the 1998 law. However, the Golden Lion Casino is operating in a supposed hotel that has never existed and the Sortis Casino advertises itself as the SORTIS Hotel Casino & Spa but consists of only one floor. The Tourist Authority of Panama made an inspection on 23 June 2014 and confirmed that the number of guest rooms is below the minimum 300 rooms required by law.
In each of the cases presented to the JCJ, ASAJA has included the respective certificates issued by the Tourist Authority, indicating that neither one of the hotels named in the contracts signed by Frank de Lima keeps a register of operations.
COLOMBIA – 132 operators at Coljuegos MET online meeting
Following the stage where Coljuegos made an analysis of the comments received on proposed regulations and legislation for connection and reporting online of electronic slot machines (Máquinas Electrónicas Tragamonedas – MET), Colombia’s regulator organized a meeting on Wednesday, June 18 addressing in public all concerns as well as setting out the forthcoming regulation.
The draft regulations were published on March 20 on the Coljuegos website in order to receive comments and questions from all gaming operators. Since then Coljuegos has consolidated and analysed the information sent by operators and gaming organizations.
The meeting in Bogota had 132 gaming operators from casinos and slot machines companies from various regions in the country as well as seven representatives of the sector’s various guilds. As the transmission of the meeting was live on the Coljuegos website, another 250 people followed the proceedings in which Colombia’s regulator put at the disposal of the sector various mechanisms of participation, from remote channels such as the web page, email, the national hotline, and also with direct interventions from online participants.
CHILE – Regulators extend casino licensing process for 30 days
Chile’s Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego (SCJ), the country’s casino operation regulators have announced an extension of 30 days to the 90-days term allowed for the verification of compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, prequalification of commercial societies, technical evaluation of projects, as well as the Report from the SCJ to the Licensing Committee (Consejo Resolutivo – CR). The term for said processes which was up by Monday, June 30, has been extended by the SCJ in line with article 24 of Casino Law No. 19.995.
Such an extension of time limits is mainly due to the lengthy time in checking that documentation presented by the casino licence candidates complies with all legal and regulatory requirements before prequalification. The analysis of a large number of records requested to national and foreign agencies and societies and the candidates themselves has meant that SCJ officials have to travel to the countries of origin of the casino licence candidates in order to obtain the necessary information for pre-qualification.
Additionally, within the framework of the technical evaluation of the projects, the SCJ has to evaluate and assess various factors in relation with the four companies and their projects for the casino: Casino Luckia Arica S.A., for a casino in Arica; and Marina del Sol Chillán S.A., Chillán Casino Resort S.A., and Casino de Juegos Chillán S.A. – all three projects for the city of Chillan; and the SCJ must visit each prospective casino site on more than one occasion.
Also, in the context of their assessment, the SCJ has asked for reports from the Ministry of the Interior and the Tourist National Service and the regional Governments of Arica and the Bío-Bío regions, and the municipalities of Arica and Chillán, as part of Proceso 2014, which grants an operating permit for a casino, and according to the regulations all organizations must answer such request by July 4 2014.
Once the current stage of Proceso 2014 if finished, the CR will start the final process, which now will be during August 2014, and with the full facts and reports from SCJ, local and regional governments must issue a decision and the winner of Process 2014 to be licensed for the operation of a casino in Chile.
Boss Gaming joins AGEM
The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) has announced that its Board of Directors has approved the membership applications of nine new companies, bringing the trade group comprised of the world’s leading gaming suppliers to a total of 141 members, an all-time high.
One new member is Boss Gaming, a company formed in England in 2004 but now based in Hollywood, Florida. Having an important presence in the Latin American market, Boss Gaming has assembly plants in Colombia and Mexico as well as its research and development offices in Slovenia and its sales and support offices in Panama and the US. The company’s electronic roulette and blackjack machines have been created with casino operators in mind, offering player satisfaction, rapid technical support and the best of European technology and design.